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  • Steven Rivers

How To Choose a Wedding Videographer

Your wedding video is something you will treasure for many years. You will likely watch it many times and share a shorter version of it with friends and family, so you want it to reflect your style as a couple – and give anyone watching it a true picture of what your big day was like. To get such a video you will need to hire a professional. Don’t even think about having a friend or family member attempt this. That is a whole different article that many have written about. To hire the right professional videographer you will obviously need to find one that is good at what they do and has good reviews but also make sure they suit you and your partner’s style and personality. The overall look and feel of your final wedding video will depend on your budget and the videographer you choose, but here are several questions every couple should ask potential wedding videographers before signing on the dotted line, to help ensure you hire the one that’s best for you. Now lets jump into these questions

Do you specialize in weddings?

Ask this question to make sure they’re capable of meeting the demands of a wedding day shoot. Weddings are fast paced and not scripted. The videographer can’t say “cut” and reshoot an event at a wedding. Those that specialize in weddings know what to expect and are ready for sudden changes in the timeline and how to deal with certain situations that don’t happen at other types of events. You want to know that your videographer, no matter how technically perfect he or she may be, will be able to read the mood of your event and record your big day without missing out on key moments. This only comes with experience, so you probably don’t want your wedding to be a videographer’s first job.

How many videographers & cameras would there be at my wedding?

Two videographers are better than one. Simply because they can take different angles of your wedding. Plus, you’ll be able to have your fiance’s reaction to you walking down the aisle as well as your reaction to them. Having an extra unmanned camera is a plus. It provides additional footage that can be used during the editing process to provide an additional angle or perspective and give the videographer additional latitude during the editing process, meaning you get a better video.

What’s your video style?

Another important question is the videographer’s style. Do you want a music video style highlight film or simply a full length linear video documenting your day? Depending on what you’re looking for, you should choose a videographer that can shoot and edit the style you like. Here are the differences of each of the most popular styles:

  • Cinematic style focuses on giving you a video that looks like a movie. This style is by far the most popular as it aims to emphasize the emotional aspect of the day, has creative angles, uses slow motion, and emotional music to tell your wedding/love story. This is the type of video that’s posted on social media. Some cinematic style wedding films can include audio from the day or be more of a music video style.

  • Journalistic Style is more of a behind-the-scenes look where it doesn’t have people look straight into the camera. Everything is filmed as if the videographer weren’t there. It’s a candid type of approach. This is the most popular type of approach and is especially used in conjunction with the cinematic style.

  • Documentary style focuses on simply capturing the day, as it happens, sequentially. There is very little editing done to this type of video. Think documentary films. It’s not “artistic” as it focuses more on capturing everything in the moment. And it typically doesn’t have music in the background because it captures the audio that was recorded with the footage. In this style of editing, you’ll get the laughter, comments, chit chat and anything else that was recorded as audio throughout the day. This video is not usually posted on social media because it tends to be longer (about 30-45 minutes) and is more raw and intimate.

What parts of the day do you film?

Make sure you choose a videographer that will capture the most important parts of your wedding day such as getting ready shots, the first look, reading letters, ceremony, reception toasts, bouquet toss and grand exit. Depending on the videographer’s packages or style, you may get all or only some of these shots.

What kind of packages do you offer? Wedding video packages come in many shapes, sizes and price points. Different packages can include many different variables such as inclusion of drone footage, a certain number of service hours, a particular film type or style, a single videographer or multiple cameras and so on. Also, they may have add-on services you might want such as: Teaser videos, love story videos or filming of the reception dinner. Understanding what you get in each package is important and many videographers can create a custom package to fit your needs and budget.

When can I expect to see my wedding video?

It’s very common for wedding films to take longer than the time your photographer takes to deliver your photos. This is especially true for cinematic films that require much thought into telling the wedding/love story. Typically, a wedding film can take anywhere between 2 – 6 months but some videographers can turn your project around a little faster.

How do you work with photographers?

Since both videographers and photographers are often capturing the same scene or event at the same time, they often want the same angle or vantage point. This can become a point of contention between the two as they are both being paid to provide high quality content. You want to make sure the videographer you choose is willing to play nice with your photographer on wedding day. This does not mean that they are willing to take the back seat and give up important shots for your video. They need to be capable of finding a balance with the photographer.

What type of gear do you use?

Gone are the days of massive camcorders and lighting pieces. Most videographers get the job done with a camera no bigger than your photographer's. Ask about it either way so you know what to expect. Another good thing to know; how will the audio be recorded for vows, toasts etc? Good videographers know that audio is just as important as the video and can make or break a film. Will they be recording straight from the cameras or using dedicated recorders placed on or near those speaking? How about the quality of the video? Do they use high definition cameras? Do they use special stabilizer gear to ensure the video footage is not shaky?

Who will do the actual filming?

Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life and you don’t want anything or anyone to bring you down. That’s why it’s important to have a good rapport with all your wedding vendors. Like your photographer, your videographer will be with you the entire day. It’s important to know if the person you are dealing with will be the one doing the filming at your wedding. If someone else will be doing the filming, ask to meet them before you seal the deal.

Is there a charge for filming at another location or for staying later in the evening if something important comes up?

Some videography packages only include filming at the main venue locations so there may be extra charges to follow you to a different location to shoot video. Also. like photographers, most videographers charge by the hour but some video packages include all day coverage with no time limits. If you are being charged for a certain number of hours or locations, it is important to know how much additional time or locations may cost.

Is the final film delivered on a DVD, Blu-ray, USB or online?

Not many people have a DVD or Blu-ray player these days so there is very little demand for having a wedding video burned to disc. Most videographers no longer offer this as a media option but some may. With streaming media outlets such as Netflix and Amazon Prime being so popular now, online delivery of wedding films has become the norm. Some people still like physical media though and most videographers can deliver your video files on a usb drive. It’s important to discuss delivery options with your videographer.

Can you make changes to the film once you’ve seen it for the first time?

So the wedding and that relaxing honeymoon is over and your wedding video has been delivered. You watch it and love everything about it… almost. If you could just have that one part removed or the last scene changed it would be perfect. It’s good to know what options you have here and if they will incur extra charges. Many videographers will allow a few small changes at no charge but may have a fee for more extensive changes. It’s best to discuss this with prospective videographers in advance. Once you choose your videographer it’s a good idea to let him or her know what things are most important to you before your actual wedding day to avoid post production edits altogether.

How long will the final product be?

Typical wedding highlight videos are normally less than 15 minutes long whereas longer versions that can include complete footage of every activity can reach an hour or more. Most videographers work within these typical video lengths but to avoid any surprises, you should ask this question.

How much is the deposit and when is the remaining balance due?

This one is pretty straight forward and is good information to have so you can properly budget for your big day. Also good to know is if they allow payment plans for the balance or if it needs to made in a single payment.

Can you select the music for the wedding video?

This is a big one. Some couples have a vision of their wedding video playing to their favorite song in the background. A professional videographer knows this is not an option due to copyright laws. Doing so can lead to fines large enough to put most videographers out of business for good. The alternative is that your wedding videographer will provide you with a video that contains royalty free music, which doesn’t attract the same fees or rules as the commercial music from your favorite recording artist. The music used in your video will affect how it looks and feels. It can be soft and romantic, fast-paced and edgy or somewhere in between. Ask what style of music your videographer intends to use and if you can help select it. There are many good royalty free music services and your videographer may be willing to direct you to their sources and allow you to help select the music.

What is your cancellation and/or refund policy?

Nobody likes to think about having to cancel a service but, like having a Will made, it’s prudent to be aware of and ready for all possibilities, even the unfortunate ones.

The fact is, things can go wrong and sometimes do, so ask what will happen if you have to cancel your contract; whether or not you’ll get any money back and, if so, how much.

We hope these questions help you out when selecting your wedding videographer. Feel free to contact us to see if we are available to film your wedding. We would be happy to answer all of these questions for you and discuss your vision for your wedding film!

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